Every 15 minutes, someone dies as the result of an alcohol related collision. Drinking has been so popular in today’s society that it has increased the rate of many users. 4.5 adolescences are excessively involved in alcohol related automobile accidents, which is the leading cause of death among American’s 15-24 years of age.
Underage drinking is a big problem that our society faces and Driving Under the Influence (DUI) counselor and former Drug and Alcohol Prevention coordinator, for Sun Street Centers, Marciano Huerta said, “Alcohol is a psychoactive drug, that affects the pre-frontal cortex which is the interior part of the brain.” This part of the brain affects decision-making, thinking, cause and effect, and judgment.
Alcohol causes several consequences such as: severe anxiety, hallucinations, damage to the brain and liver, high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease, strokes, and depresses the body’s immune system.
Once an individual is exposed to the substance, “It is quit powerful because it makes us feel good and we want more, and our body develops a tolerance,” Huerta said. Many individuals are not aware of the fundamental reasons to avoid the use of any alcohol substances.
Once the body has developed a tolerance, it makes the user drink a higher amount to feel the same desire effect. Alcohol is a mood altering depressant that can lead many users to an addiction.
As Charlotte Lee, Sun Street Centers Prevention Coordinator said, “The cycle of addiction starts as experimental (peer pressure, curiosity, or fun), leading to abuse, and resulting in addiction.” Addiction has mental and physical effects that can harm a person. However, once a user stops drinking he/she will develop withdrawal symptoms.
These withdrawal symptoms affect young adults with greater consequences. The brain of an individual is not fully developed into age 25, which affects many young adults and increases risky behaviors.
This makes young adults have a higher chance of driving under the influence, have unprotected sex, be involved in physical and sexual assault, higher rate exposure of sexually transmitted diseases and infections and unplanned pregnancies. Heavier drinking during early pregnancies can result in Fatal Alcohol Syndrome causing great harm to the child.
From all the health risks alcohol consumption is illegal for anyone underage, as Investigator Sargent Stacie Russo for the campus police department quoted, “Underage drinking is illegal and it should not be done.” The consequences of underage drinking are very severe it is illegal to have ANY alcohol in your body if you are under age of 21, suspends driving privileges for 180 days, up to $500 fine, Community service or probation, and a class 3 misdemeanor.
The best way for underage individuals to avoid health and legal problems is to stay away from alcohol. As Huerta quoted, “Get educated with what you are messing with. Education is the key that will tell anyone the truth about anything.”
The more a person knows about the substances he/she are being exposed to, the less likely he/she is likely to consume them on a regular basis. Being educated about the psychological and physical consequences of alcohol consumption will reduce consumption, aware others, and save a person’s life.
If anyone needs further information, feels a loved one has a problem, or simply wants to know more, there are services available for students. The Personal Growth Center has certified physiologists to fulfill the needs of students. In addition, in the community of Seaside, Sun Street Centers is a great resource for Drugs and Alcohol. There is no need for anyone to feel alone; there is always help out there.